Four days after BYU announced it had concluded its investigation into the BYU-Duke volleyball match on Aug. 26 and found no evidence that fans used racial slurs, the West Coast Conference issued a statement backing the institution.
The WCC, of which BYU competes in most sports, including women’s volleyball, said it worked closely with BYU in examining all the information the school gathered in its investigation.
“Based on our review of the information shared by BYU athletic department personnel, we believe BYU has conducted a transparent and thorough investigation,” the statement read in part.
Duke outside hitter Rachel Richardson said she heard racial slurs during the second set of Duke’s match against BYU as she served in front of the ROC student section on the south end of the floor at the Smith Fieldhouse.
“BYU’s inability to locate the perpetrator(s) does not mean the remarks were not said and does not mean BYU did not put the appropriate resources, time, and effort into their investigation,” the statement read.
The WCC also said it believes that BYU “implemented the appropriate game management protocols” during that night’s match and in response to the allegations in its investigation.
The statement reads in full:
“The West Coast Conference has reviewed the facts and information provided by BYU regarding its volleyball match against Duke on Aug. 26. WCC bylaws hold host institutions accountable for ensuring that all spectators and fans refrain from rudeness, vulgar language, remarks regarding race or gender and other unsporting conduct.
Members of the Duke program reported that they heard language from fans that violated WCC sportsmanship policies during the match. Racist remarks are inappropriate, hurtful, and unacceptable. The membership of the WCC is committed to providing student-athletes safe environments in which to learn, grow and compete. When instances of unsporting conduct occur during WCC athletic events, the Conference office reviews the facts and information to determine whether the institution responded appropriately pursuant to the WCC policies on game management, and whether the institution has created effective plans to prevent repeat occurrences.
The Conference worked closely with BYU to examine all the information and steps taken both during and in the moments and days after the match. Based on our review of the information shared by BYU athletic department personnel, we believe BYU has conducted a transparent and thorough investigation. BYU’s inability to locate perpetrator(s) does not mean the remarks were not said and does not mean BYU did not put the appropriate resources, time and effort into their investigation.
Upon review of the information received, we believe the institution implemented the appropriate game management protocols during the match and has since taken the appropriate actions to thoroughly investigate this incident. We also believe BYU has adopted appropriate measures and policies to help avoid future incidents. The safety and respect for one another is paramount in sport, higher education and in life. We share BYU’s commitment to foster an inclusive environment and its pledge to further efforts to ensure everyone is treated with equal respect. The WCC and each of its member institutions stand together in this commitment to root out racism.”